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Miami park empties when tiger escapes

MIAMI, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Officials at Miami's Jungle Island say about 20 visitors asked for their money back as they hustled out after a tiger escaped from its enclosure.

The popular tourist attraction was open for business Sunday after a scare the previous day when Mahesh, a 3-year-old Bengal tiger, jumped 14 feet over a fence and did some impromptu mingling among the suddenly frantic crowd.

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"People were running for their lives," Larry Rhodes of Pompano Beach told the Miami Herald.

A park spokesman said nearly two dozen of the approximately 700 guests stopped at the ticket booth on their way out for a refund.

As for Mahesh, the 500-600 pound cat didn't attack anyone and was seen in television images calmly lounging around a walkway during part of its 90-minute breakout.

The Herald said the trouble started when a gibbon being moved in a wheeled cage got loose in front of the tiger enclosure and apparently got Mahesh excited enough to make its epic leap.

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